Silo S1E8: Hanna

Sims questions Gloria, the midwife who Juliette roused from chemically-induced slumber to question. He uses that slumber not as a threat of punishment, but as a reward. She’s much happier in a perpetual dream state than feeling trapped in the harsh reality of the Silo. She comes clean and tells Sims Juliette took something Holston left behind for her — the hard drive George found that started all of this. As she drifts away again, she asks him, “Do you think you’ll win?”

“We have to.”

It’s a nice reminder that no one thinks they’re the bad guy. For Sims and whoever’s standing behind him in the shadows, maintaining the oppressive secrecy Juliette’s pushing against is essential to maintaining order and keeping the silo running smoothly. As we saw with Juliette’s emergency generator repair, life in the silo is more precarious than anyone wants to acknowledge.

We also get a series of flashbacks to Juliette’s childhood. Her mother, Hanna, bribes a farmer to bring home a rabbit. “It’s not a pet,” she cautions. The animal is sickly — it has a hole in its heart similar to the one that killed Juliette’s brother — and Hanna thinks she can locate the hole and sew it up with the help of a magnifying device she’s been building. Gloria mentioned the device last week, and we know that magnifying beyond a certain point is illegal in the silo, but not why.

Hanna’s motives are purely altruistic — being able to see up close would greatly advance medical science within the silo. Other families wouldn’t have to suffer the loss hers had. But we jump ahead to the authorities ransacking their home, doing as much damage as possible until she relinquishes the device. Juliette’s father pushes her to submit to authority and chastises her for breaking the rules. She accuses him of being the one to turn her in, so now we know why Juliette — who was listening at the door — resents him so much. Without any ally, Hanna reveals the clever, intricate device, which the cops brutally smash to pieces. 

And in the present day, Judicial Security are ransacking the sheriff’s office, over deputy Billings’ objections that doing so is a violation of The Pact. Judge Meadows ordered a search for unauthorized relics, but Juliette was at least smart enough to hide the hard drive elsewhere and not keep it with her, and smart enough to know that Meadows — completely cowed by the shadowy powers-that-be when we saw her last week — wasn’t behind this, Sims was.

If Sims is going to push Juliette, she’s going to push back. So she and Billings march into his office and arrest him for approving the illegal search. And even that bold move is more than it seems, as after Billings takes the prisoner away, Juliette searches his office, finding hidden files on a handful of people including Martha Walker, her mentor in the lower levels — and Hanna Nichols. 

Juliette confronts her father again. He and Hanna responded to the loss of their son in different ways. He turned inward, neglecting his family, to his lasting regret. She looked outward, trying to fill the hole left behind with illicit projects like building the microscope and working with the Flamekeepers. She didn’t care what lines she crossed or what rules she broke in the course of “chasing impossible answers.” He abandoned Juliette to the lower levels because he knew she had the same instincts, and he’d rather she put them to work on something practical than trying to unravel the silo’s mysteries like her mother did, even if it meant his daughter’s resentment. 

Iain Glen does a terrific job of selling the lifetime of regret behind that story, but Juliette’s able to assuage at least some of his guilt. She knows now that her father didn’t turn in her mother over the microscope — Judicial was watching through the hidden cameras she only suspected existed in the previous episode. 

She hopes Martha can help her unlock the hard drive’s security, but Judicial has set up security checkpoints on the stairs, so she can’t visit the lower levels. She then turns to Lukas, her stargazer friend from the top level. He says the drive needs high-level authorization reserved for the head of IT, the judge… or the sheriff, but only at her work computer. She pleads with him for help, but Lukas doesn’t know anything about conspiracies or murders, he’s just a guy who likes looking out the window, and Juliette’s just a woman who rebuffed his advances.

She’s also a woman who doesn’t give up easily. She smashes the mirror in her apartment, showing him the hidden camera behind it. But even then, he’s too afraid of Judicial to take action, and his fears are confirmed — as soon as Juliette storms off, a line of cops stream past him to ransack her apartment.

So Juliette enlists the one person who can get her past the security checkpoints and into the lower levels; Acting Mayor Holland. He’s happy to pull rank over the befuddled security guard, but also demands to know why Juliette’s poking this particular hornet’s nest so far. He takes her into one of the farms so they can talk unobserved. She explains her theory that Sims is the real power in the silo. She’s wrong.

After eight episodes of questions, we finally get at least one answer. It’s a well-played reveal that once again ratchets up the stakes for Juliette, and gives us a cliffhanger to lead into next week.

Stray thoughts:
• Billings is still hiding his illness, and the stress is making his tremors worse.

• The blockade is just one of several elements this week that underscores what a limiting physical space the Silo is. There’s no place to run and very few places to hide.